A modern day thrill ride, where a teen girl and her animal companion must participate in a breathtaking race to save her brother’s life—and her own.
Tella’s brother is dying. He’s got cancer, and Tella is helpless to save him. Or so she thought. When an invitation arrives for Tella to compete in the Brimstone Bleed, a deadly competition that will lead her through treacherous jungle and scorching desert, she doesn’t think twice. Because the prize is a cure to any illness. But Tella will be facing more than just the elements.
This book was given to me by the wondrously wondrous people of Chicken House Books in exchange for a review!
You are forgiven for reading the above synopsis and thinking that it all sounds a little bit too familiar. I had the exact same thought. A deadly contest being entered by a young girl to save a relative? Hmmm. And it’s a dystopian book. I was skeptical as I’m sure quite a lot of people will be when they stumble across this book. But hold the presses and do not prejudge my wonderful bookish lovelies! This book is brilliant. A page turner if there ever was one and, at times, very original in its take on the genre.
At the beginning of the book I was prepared to have the save reaction as I did with Divergent by Veronica Roth. ie. Not liking it one little bit because I loved The Hunger Games so much. However, from the moment I met Tella, I was completely taken with her. She has the most incredibly quirky and original voice that I have read in a dystopian novel. In all the doom and gloom of the dystopian societies we have been thrust into over the past few years, I’d forgotten that characters can actually be funny and immensely witty. Tella was a brilliant character to read and be in the head of. She didn’t immediately fall in love with the male protagonist, she had a fantastic connection with her Pandora (I’ll get to it!) and she seemed believable as a teenage girl. She didn’t have any exceptional abilities or anything like that. Tella was just normal and it was really refreshing.
In terms of the world, I was surprised to find that, while it is quite technologically advanced, it is very similar to the age we live in now. With the exception of the Brimstone Bleed (the contest) and the Pandoras (again, I’ll get to it!) it is very recognisable. I loved this. It made the threat feel a lot more intense.
Another aspect of the story that I really enjoyed was the idea of each contestant having a Pandora (here we are!) A Pandora is given to each of the contenders at the beginning of the contest in egg form and, as they go along, the eggs hatch to bring out a mechanical/robotic (I assume) beast. It acts as a companion to the contender, much like the daemons in Pullman’s His Dark Materials. It gave this book a new dimension which I found very intriguing.
While there are a lot of things to praise about this book, the ending left me feeling a little short changed. It felt rushed which was frustrating because I had enjoyed the rest of the book so much. I do, however, want to pick up Book 2 and return to Tella and her contest, so I can’t really fault Scott in her ability to hook me in.
Surprisingly original and very exciting, Fire & Flood is one of the best dystopians I have read since The Hunger Games. It is brimming with action and suspense and is the very definition of a page turner. Bring on Book 2.
It is published in the UK on the 6th March 2014, order your copy below! 🙂